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STD Versus STI and Where to Get Tested

The distinction between sexually transmitted disease or STD, and sexually transmitted infection or STI, is important with respect to the appropriateness and oftentimes the cost of testing and screening.  Understanding the difference determines where and how testing is ordered.  


The most common cases of STI and STD with the exception of trichomonas are the result of the transmission of viruses or bacteria from an infected partner to an uninfected partner during sexual activity. Sexually transmitted disease differs from sexually transmitted infection in that disease is associated with STD symptoms or signs indicating illness, whereas sexually transmitted infection includes STD and silent or hidden infection known in medical parlance as asymptomatic disease. This all-inclusive term, STI, which has come into vogue in recent years, also refers to what used to be commonly called venereal disease or VD.   


The semantic difference between STD and STI not only denotes the manifestation or concealment of infection, but also distinguishes testing from screening. Since disease of any type is primarily associated with signs or symptoms of illness, disease testing is performed when a particular disease is suspected based on the presence of either or both of those indicators of illness. Disease screening on the other hand, is the testing performed when one has an increased likelihood of illness even though signs and/or symptoms of the particular illness are not present at the time of testing.  Therefore, if testing for STI is performed because the presence of symptoms of STI, STD or STI testing is the correct terminology. On the other hand, if sexually transmitted infection is suspected, likely, or possible based on risk factors relating to sexual activity at the time of testing, STI screening is the appropriate term.


The semantic distinction between STD/STI testing and STI screening has practical ramifications with respect to where to get tested and the cost of the testing. If one has health insurance and undergoes testing ordered by a doctor because of STD symptoms or signs the cost of the test(s) is covered by the health insurance company. On the other hand, if a doctor orders STI screening tests the health insurance company usually will not cover the cost of the tests because of the absence of symptoms or signs of STD to justify the testing. 


Because the cost of STI screening ordered through a doctor’s office or clinic can be quite expensive STI screening is usually not ordered in that setting, and usually is not included as part of a wellness health exam because of the absence of symptoms or signs of STD.


The online lab service however is a viable workaround of the problem of limited access to STI screening in that it offers comprehensive screening test panels at a considerably lower price than if tests were ordered in the traditional setting and the patient billed directly by the clinical reference laboratory performing the tests. Individual tests can also be ordered but if more than one test is needed comprehensive STI screening panels provided the greatest cost saving.    


In addition to addressing the concern of where to get tested, the online lab service provides the convenience of private online test ordering and confidential test results. The potential shame or embarrassment resulting from encountering an acquaintance at a local doctor’s office or health clinic where STI screening test might be ordered can be avoided, and the test result(s) need not be known to anyone except the person tested because of secure online access. 


Fast, Private STI screening, $25 off your order


$25 off 8 Test STD Panel - Fast, Private & Embarrassment free



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For greater  specemien collection privacy  in addition to services provided by other online companies performs tests for  Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomonas on urine specimens and a test for HIV on a drop of blood on a card mailed in. also provides free counselling by a physcian to explain any positvie test result(s). 

Test Country provides home HIV test kits for greater blood collection privacy. At Test Country Early Disease Detection Can Save Your Life! Test Now

For cost and other comparisons between STD testing services click here. 


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